For the last week or so, I've been working my way through Robert K. Massie's book Nicholas and Alexandra, which is utterly fascinating. Those two were so completely ill-suited personality-wise to govern a country, much less one as large and complex as Russia and especially during World War I. Sometimes it's a little difficult to keep all of the people straight, especially since half the Romanov family seems to be called by one of maybe four or five names (reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the introduction of the extended family), but I've been taking it a little slow and reading just a chapter or two at a time. What's particularly fascinating is the insight to Alexandra's psyche and how their son's hemophilia dominated her thought patterns and had such a big impact on everything that she did, especially how she revered Rasputin because she thought he miraculously helped her son. I'm only a bit over halfway through, though that first half covered the first 20 years of their marriage and it looks like the second half will be all about World War I. Still, totally fascinating and I recommend it if you've got an interest in Russian history like I do. Massie's biography of Catherine the Great was actually the first book I got on my Kindle, and it is likewise fascinating. Sometime down the line I'll have to buy his book about Peter the Great as well.
Anyway, you're not here for my book reviews (probably), but maybe you're interested in the last batch of pictures from the Harry Potter studio tour. So let's get to it. We pick up again in Diagon Alley.
Here's the sign for Ollivander's, Makers of Fine Wands Since 382 B.C. The level of detail on everything in the HP world is amazing; look at the weathering on that sign.
Again, I wish I could go inside the shops in Diagon Alley and really examine all the interesting things for sale!
Slug & Jiggers is a fantastic name for an apothecary.
Small-scale table and chairs atop the bay window for Florian Fortescue's ice cream parlor.
Wizard version of a Barnes & Noble :)
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes complete with violent orange facade.
All the best Wizarding fashions available here.
This is the statue of the architect of Hogwarts, with mascots for the four houses around his feet. Last time I wasn't able to get a full-body shot of this but this time I was successful.
Concept art. a.) I want this toy pegasus and b.) has anyone seen it in the movies anywhere?
Once again, the scale model of Hogwarts is totally awe-inspiring. I read through all the information they had on computers around the model and it's amazing how many steps were involved to, say, tile the roofs. Such a huge amount of work went into this and it's truly spectacular.
This bit of the model is a replica of the courtyard at Alnwick Castle, where they did some filming for the first two movies.
Last of the model shots for this time around. I'm glad I took the bigger camera this time around, it was fun trying to get clear shots in the low light and to get interesting pics of the minutiae of the Harry Potter universe. Last up are a few random shots from the Invaders.
Much better pic of the Gray Lady's dress from Sorcerer's Stone than I was able to get.
Another Educational Decree.
Devlin & Laura aboard the Knight Bus. Note the sign says "All Destinations...Nothing Underwater".
Hogwarts Bridge with the Potters' ruined house behind (because geography is meaningless on a movie studio soundstage).
Wonder what House Devlin was Sorted into. Me, I think I'd be a Ravenclaw.
So Coke has this thing where all the bottles say "Share a Coke with friends" or else a random name, as if we're all going to go around sharing Coke bottles with the first person we meet named Francesca. But Dad got one exhorting him to share a Coke with Richard (which is his name, if I haven't mentioned it previously). I once got a pair of bottles with the names Natalie and Natasha, so I told Lee we should have twin girls and name them that. He just looked at me like I've lost my marbles, but I'm used to that.
And last of all here's Umbridge's super-pink Ministry office.
Next up is probably a stitching update, and then...maybe more London photos, I don't know :) Cheers!
My Home For The Holidays: 2014 Edition
1 hour ago